Adrienne Jerram

Adrienne Jerram

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The smell of a good book

It's official. I'm a turn coat, a traitor, and insipid betrayer of my species. I'm not even sure how I can look myself in the mirror.

I've given up books.

I haven't given up reading or writing books, just buying them. After years of swearing I wouldn't convert, I'm reading books electronically and I have to say, I like it.

I like carrying my library with me wherever I go. I like going on holidays and carry  two weeks supply of books in my handbag, I like taking my favourite recipe books shopping, and I like living  in a house the size of a couple of postage stamps and still have space to walk down the corridor because it's not lined with bookshelves.**

But the other day I was reminded just how much I'm giving up.  I was walking past the Fisher Library, a collection of over 5 million books (and 300 000 e-books) on the University of Sydney campus, and as I walked past, the glass doors slid open and the whole library seemed to exhale that better than baked bread smell of old books. I love that smell. And it makes me sad that there are kids born today who might never know it.

Still, I've hardened my heart and I'm not going back.

** This is a lie, we have our bikes stacked on a two-story bike rack in the corridor, and so have to sidle down the corridor anyway.

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